A Time of Renewal

Almost two years ago, I started thinking about a clause in the agreement between Hatboro Baptist and me. That clause reads, “The church agrees to provide a paid sabbatical rest after 5-7 years of ministerial service of 3-6 months.” I thought, 5-7 years?!?! I have been in Hatboro for 10 years!

So I began talking to the Council and the Elders about taking this time for renewal. As we thought about it and studied the idea, we found a group that annually offers grants to churches so that their pastors can take a time of Renewal. Christian Theological Seminary has partnered with the Lilly Foundation to provide grants of up to $50,000 for a time of renewal.

Together with a Team appointed by the Council, I began working on the grant request. Finally on April 15 of this year, I submitted the request titled, “Taste and See that the Lord is Good.” After an anxious Summer, the church was informed that our proposal had been accepted and that all costs related to the Renewal Leave would be covered by the Grant.

In the months to come, leading up to three months of Renewal, the Team will be sharing details around my activities and around the congregation’s activities.


In the brochure that will soon be available to the congregation there are three suggestions concerning how you can be a part of making this a tremendous time of renewal.

  1. Pray for a significant time of rest and renewal for me and Sheryl. Pray for each member of the church staff and leadership team who will lead while we are away. Pray that this season is one of renewal for each member of the congregation and for the church as a whole.
  2. Participate in the fellowship and worship opportunities that are offered during this time. Volunteer to help support the staff and leaders in key events.
  3. Seek to be present in the moment and enjoy this unique gift that God has given to our church.

Pastor Doug Stratton



On Sunday, October 29, we will be celebrating Praise Song Sunday! Last month we worshiped as we sang our favorite hymns, this week we will be sharing our favorite Praise Songs. Plan to come and worship God with your heart and with your voice as we, in the words of Psalm 150:

Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

So let everything that has breath,